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Prez Duterte downplays Recto Bank incident, calls it a “maritime incident”

President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday finally breaks his silence on the issue of a Chinese fishing vessel abandoning atleast 20 Filipino crewmen after colliding with their boat at the Recto Bank at the West Philippine Sea.

During his speech at the 121st anniversary of the Philippine Navy in Cavite, the President referred to the incident as plain “maritime incident.”

According to President Duterte, he refused to make any statement because the incident has yet to be investigated, therefore there is no result to comment or react to.

The president also castigated a government official for suggesting to send troops at the contested island.  Duterte said that we are not prepared for a ‘nuclear war’, referring to China’s capability to launch such war.

President Duterte added that we should give time for the investigation and wait to hear both sides of the story.

Prior to President Duterte’s statement, on Friday, the Chinese Embassy issued a statement denying claims that they rammed F/B GemVir 1 on midnight of June 9 and abandoned its Filipino crew, on the risk of drowning.

Based on its issued statement, the Chinese fishing boat Yuemaobinyu 42212 from the Guangdong province did hit the Filipino fishing boat, but they were afraid that if they attempt to rescue the Filipino crew, other Filipino fishing vessels may attack them.

The statement added that when they were sure that the Filipino fishermen were rescued, that was the only time they left the scene.

Meanwhile, the supposed Monday meeting between President Duterte and the captain of the Filipino fishing vessel Capt. Junel Insigne has been canceled.

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